The common cold has been a fierce adversary of man for many generations.
Therefore, it is expected that over time people will come up with different baseless theories as to what causes and what can cure a cold.
Unfortunately, these theories stick and we believe them completely.
Here are five common myths about the common cold.
You’re more likely to catch a cold in cold weather
Cold temperatures are not to blame for the dramatic increase in cold viruses during the harmattan.
In fact, the cold temperature ignites your natural immune response, leaving your body better prepared to fight off any potential invaders.
The real reason behind the spike in cold viruses during cold weather? People tend to stay inside far more often, which means they’re in closer proximity to each other when sneezing and coughing are going on.
When you’re inside, you’re also closer to surfaces and air that can easily harbour viruses and bacteria.
Hand sanitising gels as effective as hand-washing
Sanitising gels don’t work well if your hands are visibly dirty. And they must contain at least 60 percent alcohol to reduce the spread of diseases such as the cold, but some varieties at your local pharmacy contain significantly less.
If given a choice between washing with soap and water or coating your hands in a dollop of sanitiser, the old-fashioned soap and water combination is the safer bet.
If you don’t have a fever, you’re not contagious
If you have a cold, you’re most contagious for the first two to three days, whether you have a fever or not, according to the national institutes of health.
The contagious phase of a cold virus is usually over by day 7 to 10. Adults and older children with colds generally have a low fever or no fever. Young children, though, often run a fever around 100° to 102°F.
Wet hair, damp clothes increase risk of infection
This is one of the most stubborn myths out there.
While cold and wet are undoubtedly a lousy combination, this sort of weather won’t incubate and pass around cold viruses more than any other type of weather.
Herbs, supplements can beat common cold
Natural plants and derivatives have been hailed as cold-kicking powerhouses for years, with echinacea and vitamin C leading the pack.
Unfortunately, there’s very little evidence that any natural potion can speed up recovery. Studies have shown that popular treatment like echinacea supplements has no effect on cold symptoms.
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